Doing push-up? Try Shoulder blade push-up!

Doing push-up? Try Shoulder blade push-up!

Do you know about shoulder blade push-ups?

Following our previous post about scapula winging, we will be talking more about how to strengthen an important muscle of the shoulder region – the Serratus Anterior muscle.

Serratus Anterior

It is a fan-shaped muscle over the side of the first to eighth rib. It attaches to the scapula. Its function is to pull the scapula close to the rib cage and protract – think about moving your scapula away from the spine and round your upper back – your shoulder. For this reason, it is also known as the “boxer’s muscle”, as it is a muscle that is involved when throwing a punch.

Serratus Anterior muscle


When planning a workout, most of us do no think about improving our scapula function. The general push-up exercise works the shoulder and the upper back muscles. But there is a variation of this exercise to help us focus more on the serratus anterior muscle.

  1. Start in a high plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders, and your toes touching the floor.
  2. Keep your body in a straight line, with your head in a relaxed, neutral position. This is your neutral position.
  3. Tighten your core and your glutes to keep the position of the spine in a straight line.
  4. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, keeping the arms straight. The range of motion is slow, so do not lower your chest to the floor.
  5. Next, protract the shoulder blades by moving them away from the spine (refer to the picture below). Your upper back will start to round. Hold this position for 3-5 seconds.
  6. Relax into the neutral position, keeping the spine straight.
  7. Perform 8-10 repetitions.
Shoulder blade protraction

Alternatively, you may choose to perform this exercise with the elbow bent. You will then be resting on the elbows instead of the hands. The steps are similar.

Beginners can perform this exercise while standing and facing a wall.  The steps are similar.

Tip: start with the beginner position, progressing to plank on elbows, and then a high plank position.


Strengthening the Serratus Anterior muscle can help with scapular winging. Perform the shoulder blade push-up to help strengthen the muscle.